I am sitting in my yard listening to 2 or 3 different types of music wrestle with one another before wafting over my wall – neighbors are clapping and singing along and I really just have to laugh. In Canada the police would have been called long ago – here it is a typical Sunday family evening in the neighborhood.
We have made it through our first Mexican Christmas with some old traditions and many new. The final outcome was the same as it has always been …. family time playing games and laughing and eating until we can’t move. But the individual components looked quite different. Here’s the comparison:
|OLD TRADITIONS||NEW TRADITIONS|
|Chinese Food pickup||Chicken Dinner Pickup|
|Candlelight service at church||Fireworks in the street (Thanks to Luis for this one)|
|Christmas carols||Posada at our door|
|Early to bed so Santa can come||Up until 3:30 because the neighbors were partying in the street – which in turn encouraged the chickens and dogs to party in the streets. These people have serious boom boxes and they do not hold back! They literally set up tables in the street for their families to join. And fireworks – there were a LOT of fireworks all night long.|
|Christmas breakfast with hashbrown casserole, sausages, fruit, pastry and quiche||Christmas breakfast with hashbrown casserole, sausages, fruit, pastry and egg burritos|
|Opening one million gifts||Opening a couple of gifts and using the money saved to buy gifts for a family less fortunate.|
|Hanging out assembling and playing with new stuff||Going to the orphanage to play with sweet children and help distribute their gifts|
|Eating candy from our stockings all day||Watching children smash pinatas and dive for candy|
|Board games – Upwords and Chicken Foot – while looking out at the cold frosty day||Board games – Upwords and Chicken Foot – in the yard under a palm tree|
|Eating Turkey dinner until we’re stuffed in our cozy dining room||Eating Turkey dinner until we’re stuffed in a garden under the stars|
|Leftovers for breakfast||Leftovers for breakfast|
|Tobogganing on the hill outside our house||Boogie Boarding at the beach|
|Eating the peanut brittle we got in our stocking||Eating the peanut brittle we bought from a vendor on the beach|
|Boxing day shopping sales||Taking gifts to a family that doesn’t have a lot|
|Eating Turkey leftovers||Eating chicken tostados served by this same family – a real sacrifice for them|
So Christmas was exactly the same….. and completely different. We spent it together doing many of the things we normally do – but we did most of it outside with the loud noises of other families celebrating all around us. We received gifts from one another – and gave others away. We ate as much as possible – some traditional fare like Turkey and dressing but it was married with chilaquilies and tacos and tostados.
We did have a couple of new activities that I hope don’t become new traditions. Meigan had a nasty rash on her legs for a few days – we had tried Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream to no avail. So on Christmas Day we stopped at the Farmacia (drug store) to ask for something to try. They referred us next door to the doctor’s office. We were seen immediately and he gave Meg a prescription for some pills and a cream. He also gave her an injection. The consultation and the injection cost $70 pesos (about $5). The other meds cost around $10. It worked – her rash is significantly better today. Can you imagine trying to see a doc on Christmas day in Canada or the US? For $5? Within 5 minutes?
Unfortunately, as we pulled away from the doctor and headed across the street to the farmacia, Grant forgot to put on his seatbelt and the traffic police were hungry for a Christmas Day victim. Didn’t help that it was directly in front of the Fasten your Seatbelt sign. So we got a ticket and Grant had to give up his license until he went to the traffic ticket office on Boxing Day to pay his $116 peso fine – about $8. Seems to me a seatbelt ticket was $240 at home last time Grant got one. So even our transgressions fit within our new budget here.
Our family time is coming to a close here – Meigan heads home tomorrow. Brett and Luis have a few more days. It has been fun but I recognize we are on vacation – this is not real life yet. But we have had real life issues – medical needs, police confrontations, language shortfalls, and we are doing just fine. Now if I could just figure out what day garbage is picked up! Every night I take it out and every morning I bring it back in. Maybe Monday…..
Time at Manos de Amor – this was a pleasant surprise. We knew most of the children had left for the holidays but they came back for Christmas day to open gifts and we were happy to be invited.
Visiting friends and eating tostados in San Vicente